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bombshell Barcelona pile the pressure on Spanish football chiefs as they claim Lionel Messi will leave

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Lionel Messi is out of contract at Barcelona (Nick Potts/PA)

Lionel Messi is out of contract at Barcelona (Nick Potts/PA)

Lionel Messi is out of contract at Barcelona (Nick Potts/PA)

Barcelona have released a statement confirming Lionel Messi will leave the club and yet this story is far from finished.

The stunning statement released on Thursday cited economic and structural obstacles as the reason for the failure to sign a contract that has been agreed by Messi and Barcelona last month.

“Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles (Spanish Liga regulations),” the statement read.

“As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.

“FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.”

Despite what appears to be a final statement on Messi's time at Barcelona, this may well be a ploy by Barca to pile the pressure on Spanish football in a bid to allow them to bend their financial rules and allow their star player to stay.

Strict financial regulations have been imposed on Spanish clubs as they struggle to cope with the impact of the global pandemic and that appears to have blocked Messi's new deal.

LaLiga chiefs will now come under pressure to dilute those regulations in a bid to allow Messi to stay, with Paris Saint-Germain already being mentioned as a possible destination if he leaves Spanish football.

Both Manchester clubs and Chelsea may also be interested in an audacious move, but there may still be a chance that Messi could remain at Barcelona if the club can find a way to navigate around the Spanish football regulations.

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